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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Twist Mountain

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.5
Limited: 3.0

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Twist Mountain (Dark Explorers)

Our last card of the week is this much anticipated Stadium from Dark Explorers. Why was it so anticipated? Because at the moment it represents the only practical way we have of playing Restored (by which they mean Fossil) Pokémon.

Twist Mountain has a nice straightforward effect. While it is in play, both players may flip a coin on their turn and, if they have a Restored Pokémon in their hand, they get to play it straight on to the Bench. No the flippiness is not ideal, but even so this card is exactly 87 times better than trying to get the Restored Pokémon into play using their silly Fossil Basics.

Speaking of the Restored Pokémon, it’s important to be aware of what they actually are. Archeops and Carracosta are NOT Restored Pokémon, they are Stage 1s that evolve from Restored Pokémon, so even with Twist Mountain you are going to have to wait a turn to evolve Archen or Tirtouga. Aerodactyl, on the other hand, can go straight on to the Bench and start contributing.

Twist Mountain is by no means the perfect solution for people who want to play Fossils (yeah . . . I’m still calling them that sometimes). Apart from the coin flip factor there is also the serious downside that you are limited to Benching only one per turn at best . . . unlike any other Pokémon where you can search out and bench multiples of the Basic. This is probably going to mean that Fossils will never be viable as the attacking focus of a deck. I mean, just imagine how much use Zekrom or Tornadus would be if you had to flip a coin once per turn to play one? Not much.

At the moment, there isn’t a lot for Twist Mountain to work with either. Carracosta is just not a very good card and Archeops’ evolution-blocking Ability is not the most useful thing in a format dominated by Basics. At the moment only the Aerodactyl that we reviewed earlier in the week makes playing Twist Mountain worth a second thought.

But (trying to stay positive here), at least Twist Mountain gives these, and future Restored Pokémon a chance: a chance that the horrible Restored mechanic denied them previously. Who knows? One day they may release one that will be good enough to make the all the hassle worthwhile.

Rating

Modified: 3 (the only hope for Fossils)

Limited: 2.5 (useless unless you pull Aerodactyls)


Otaku

We end this week of honorable mentions (that sounds better than Top 10 leftovers, right?) with Twist Mountain. This should be exciting… nothing to do with the card; I just am going to try to be concise today since I only have 15 minutes to write! I normally take at least an hour.

Stats

Twist Mountain is Trainer, specifically a Stadium. This section can often seem like filler, but when we get to the effect, you’ll see that being a Trainer that remains in play until discarded by another effect (most likely another Stadium being played) defines the effect, and explains a lot of misconceptions I believe plague this card. Remember that as a Stadium, you can only play a single copy a turn, and if a card with the same name is already in play, you can’t even play that single copy. It didn’t always work like that for Stadiums, and while those changes make sense, they were more powerful when you could play as many Stadium cards per turn as you wanted, regardless of name. For better or worse, right now there isn’t much support (or counters for) Stadium cards, but what is relevant to Twist Mountain better fits in Usage.

Effects

The effect of Twist Mountain is that once per turn the turn player may flip a coin and if the result is “heads”, play a Restored Pokémon from his or her hand to his or her Bench. This is a simple and quite deck specific effect; so the mixed blessing is that either a deck won’t be able to use it or a deck will be able to use it well indeed. Before Twist Mountain, Restored Pokémon were dead in hand; now you have a 50% chance of playing a single Restored Pokémon per turn if it is there.

Honestly, this is a weak effect. Think about it; as a Stadium you can only use the effect once per turn, so if you think you can rely on just this to play Restored Pokémon, you can’t rely on them for anything major… which begs the question why you would bother running something so unreliable and difficult to get out if it wasn’t central to your deck. With the actual power level of Restored Pokémon compared to even the many Evolutions that look interesting or fun but aren’t currently good enough to see play, you should just get to Bench one per turn, or be able to reveal your hand and flip a coin for each one in your hand.

Usage

I am not done explaining why Twist Mountain is ultimately a poor card, but the rest falls under Usage better. As stated, you shouldn’t be relying on Twist Mountain alone unless you somehow have a deck that can spare room for it and some Restored Pokémon that somehow are worth the deck space without being important enough to your deck to get out quickly; remember you’re just averaging one every other turn! Decks focusing on Restored Pokémon should use this, but it will be in addition to the correct Item that looks at the bottom seven cards of your deck and plays the Restored Pokémon from there. Remember, that is both searching the card out and playing it. You can play multiple of those Items per turn, and while they have a high risk of failure… so does Twist Mountain. Remember, you’ve got to draw into or search out a Restored Pokémon so that it is in hand, or Twist Mountain just sits there doing nothing. Even when you’ve got at least one in hand, “tails fails” means it is just a 50% chance of working; with the right build you can make those “bottom seven” search cards find and play the desired Restored Pokémon almost as reliably.

While it is good that in hand Restored Pokémon are no longer deadweight, since Twist Mountain only works in hand it clashes with the specific search-and-play Items if you bother running anything to get the Restored Pokémon into hand. Considering the Restored Pokémon don’t seem to be on par with even the “near misses” of the format, why they are so hard to play is beyond me: both the Pokémon specific Items and Twist Mountain are sorely underpowered. After all that, the format already has a widely played Stadium card (Skyarrow Bridge) that will likely discard Twist Mountain the turn after Twist Mountain is played! If you max out on Twist Mountain, then you’ll probably get the final Stadium, but if you run even three you’ll be jockeying for position.

Still, if you want to run them, you run this, and there are some Pokémon that can help make the whole thing run better. Actually, just one Pokémon and it works with just about everything else; Tornadus EX (BW: Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108). I mean, you’ll need some basic Pokémon in the deck unrelated to the Restored Pokémon anyway, and at least the Stadium is triggering the damage boost of the first attack of Tornadus EX (Blow Through). I thought about Porygon2 (HS: Triumphant 49/102), because its Poké-Power searches out a Stadium from your deck, but it only triggers when it Evolves. Unless you can come up with a Trainer Engine to get it out and Evolved fast enough, you might as well stick to generic draw/search power (mostly draw of course) since by the time you fish out and Evolve into Porygon2, you’re nothing ahead. Porygon-Z (HS: Triumphant 7/102) would help as well, and really almost makes me want to run the line but… it is a Stage 2 Pokémon with 110 HP, and the entire point of using Porygon2 means you shouldn’t use Rare Candy to Evolve it. Its “top deck a Trainer [note: meaning Item] card from the discard on a coin flip” effect wasn’t good enough for the other Item-heavy decks of the format, so I doubt it would be up to the task for an already fragile Restored Pokémon deck.

In Unlimited, I wouldn’t bother with Restored Pokémon, in part because I wouldn’t want to give up my valuable Stadium slot for Twist Mountain; that is before factoring in this is a format of first-turn-win decks! In Limited play, this is a must play only if you have a Restored Pokémon. In this set, that is Aerodactyl, and the more you pull the more I recommend you run Twist Mountain.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2/5

Limited: 3.6/5

Summary

Twist Mountain most definitely did not deserve to be on the Top 10 list; yes it helps Restored Pokémon decks but not enough. I know some people see this and think it is great for Restored Pokémon, but even there it is only “better than nothing”. If I had to pick between running a single Restored Pokémon in a deck and one method of getting it into play, I’d actually choose the Pokémon-specific Item cards because maxed out on I could risk blitzing to get them into play. Search and play, remember? As for the ones in hand, Junk Arm discards them and Super Rod recycles them… assuming I wanted to try again (in which case Junk Arm probably was snagging the very search card I needed). You should run both Twist Mountain and the needed Items, but even together either they or the Restored Pokémon are far too weak (possibly both).

I took 45 minutes to write this. I’m in trouble. >_<


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